Python as a teaching (visualization) tool

Kyler Laird Kyler at news.Lairds.org
Sat Feb 14 05:11:56 CET 2004


Arthur <ajsiegel at optonline.com> writes:

>My effort to give it realization is PyGeo

>http://pw1.netcom.com/~ajs

>which uses VPython  for 3d rendering - which I think deserves mention
>on your list particularly because of its facility at the interactive
>prompt.

I like it.  I hope it becomes a Debian package soon.

>One concrete thing I think would help spread the gospel as to Python's
>usefulness in this area is a LiveCD - Knoppix based, let's say - that
>would come pre-configured with a good amount of  this good stuff. 

I'm quite dependent on Knoppix/Morphix these days.  I appreciate
what they allow.

>Getting up and running with some of these tools can otherwise be a
>chore that one cannot expect the merely curious to undertake.

I need even more than that right now.  I'd like to be able to run
tools on the MS Windows-based computers that litter the classrooms
on campus.  That leaves me to either use pure Web-based apps like I
usually make or perhaps Java applets.

I haven't done anything with Jython in a long time but I was
hoping to experiment with it again for building applets.  That
would make it easy to deliver some simple interactive apps.

I'm also hoping to figure out a good way to integrate SSH and VNC
into a Java applet so that I can easily use a browser to run apps
on a better platform.  That'll give me a lot more flexibility to
run things that Jython won't.

A Knoppix-like solution doesn't work at all in many cases (locked
BIOS) and is clumsy in others (where the instructor presents using
PowerPoint).  I think it would be a *great* thing to give to
people who do control their presentation systems though.  I can
easily imagine a compelling demonstration to high school teachers
followed by "Oh, and here's a CD you can use to do all of this.
Grab one on your way out the door and feel free to make copies
for your students and colleagues.  No salesmen/lawyers will call."
*That* could be very exciting.

--kyler



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